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State practices responding to hurricanes

Posted May 28, 2009
Updated May 29, 2009

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— A first-ever gathering of North Carolina emergency-management officials simulated the state's response to a hurricane Thursday.

"This is real. North Carolina can be impacted from the coast to the mountains," Gov. Bev Perdue said. "This has hit the Triangle; it's hit the mountain area, so we all have to be prepared."

N.C. practices hurricane response N.C. practices hurricane response

The State Emergency Response Team – including Perdue, Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell and Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Reuben Young – held a four-hour exercise simulating response to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.

"Every piece of state government is here getting ready. And everybody knows what their role is. I know what my role is as a brand-new governor," Perdue said.

The simulation was modeled on the landfall of North Carolina's costliest storm, Hurricane Floyd, on Sept. 16, 1999. Floyd killed 52 people and caused more than $6 billion in damage.

The team met in what would be the situation room during a disaster – the basement of the State Emergency Operations Center, 116 W. Jones St.

Officials practiced tasks including mandatory evacuations, caring for sick people and cleaning up debris. They discussed using technology, such as the Internet and GPS systems, to communicate with residents during and after storms. Perdue said she wanted better partnerships with local governments.

"It's been a tremendously important exercise, and we're ready. North Carolina's ready," Perdue said.

Budget difficulties will not affect the state's ability to respond to natural disasters, the governor said.

"North Carolina has never backed away from emergency preparedness and delivery of services," she said. "Regardless of what the budget is, we will do this, we will take care of emergency conditions. ... The state can step up and do that."

SERT most recently responded to Tropical Storm Hanna on Sept. 5, 2008.

The practice came as the first tropical depression of the season formed off the mid-Atlantic coast, four days before the start of the hurricane season on June 1.

Forecasters have predicted nine to 14 named tropical storms, including four to seven hurricanes and one to three major storms, this season. It ends Nov. 30.

Perdue has declared this Hurricane Awareness Week and urged residents to prepare for storms. Nationally, North Carolina ranks behind only Florida in vulnerability to hurricanes.

"I’ve lived on the coast for 30 years, and I’ve seen all kinds of predictions. None of us know. Whatever they say doesn’t always really come true," she said.

"You can never be prepared enough. That's why I've asked everybody in the state to get ready, because who knows what will happen this summer?"

To learn what to do before, during and after hurricanes, visit WRAL's StormTracker section.


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  • 1carpe May 28, 2009

    New Orleans had a plan which they were clueless how to implement. Louisanna had a plan which their Gov was clueless how to implement. Mississsippi had a plan...guess what they took far better care of their people during Katrina. Galvaston and Texas had a plan and knew how to implement it...guess what, they took far better care of their people during Ike. This State does well responding to disasters because it practices. Yea, it is a waste of money...all of you quit practicing fire drills, tornado drills, etc. That's right, you most likely don't because it would be a waste of time. Look at some of my posts folks, I have no use what so ever for Purdue...this is one time I will applaud her for trying to learn part of her job know, and not after land fall.

  • sandygayle77 May 28, 2009

    I think its a good idea to make a plan of action if a hurricane hits. And its a good idea to practice what to do, I don't see why you guys have such a problem with it.

  • A confused citizen May 28, 2009

    We don't need to waste our time and practice or plan. If anything were to happen, I just know that the federal government will be there to make everything right. Don't you realize that the 'nanny state' has arrived and all our problems are solved? Don't worry, We're from the government and here to help.

  • Tolip May 28, 2009

    Great news! Their response to the budget shortfall has been far less than stellar! One half a day? Wonder what that costs us taxpayers?

  • keeter May 28, 2009

    We should get some tips from Pittsburgh since they seem to know how to handle hurricanes pretty easily

  • hywilson May 28, 2009

    How does one practice responding to a hurricane?? Seems like thats something NC should have down already, no?

  • jsanders May 28, 2009

    I wonder if they're practicing writing more stupid reactionary laws, and then having to write even dumber laws to "fix" the problems caused by the first ones? I refer, of course, to the anti-"gouging" law and the talk of a government-rationing law to fix the hoarding problem caused by the anti-"gouging" law:

  • time4real May 28, 2009

    Bev needs to practice her response to the wrath teachers are about to put on her!